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A Southern Family in White and Black : The Curneys of Texas

PDF Most Texas history books name Norris Wright Cuney as one of the most influential African American politicians in nineteenth-century Texas, but they tell little about him beyond his elected positions. In The Cuneys, Douglas Hales places Cuney in the context of his family's generations and of his tumultous times. Norris Wright Cuney's father, Philip, a wealthy, politically active plantation owner and slaveholder in Austin County, fathered eight slave children whom he later freed and saw educated. Here, Hales explores how and why he differed from other planters of his time and place. Hales then turns to the better-known Norris Wright Cuney, who, after Reconstruction, led the Texas Republican Party during those turbulent years and worked tirelessly for African American education and equal opportunity. Norris Wright Cuney's daughter, Maud, became actively involved in the racial uplift movement of the early twentieth century. Hales illuminates her role in the intellectual and political "awakening" of black America that culminated in the Harlem Renaissance. Through these three members of a single mixed-race family, Hales's work adds an important chapter to the history of Texas, the South, and African Americans.

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